“I was hesitant about going back into series,” Hugh Sheridan admits.
Towards the end of Packed to the Rafters, Sheridan says some of the joy of acting had dissipated for him.
“One of the great things about acting is that it changes all the time. There are constantly new characters, new locations, new stories and everything. And that’s one of the things that’s exciting about it. I’d been doing that show for a long time. We shot 22 episodes a year. It was pretty much non-stop.
“A lot of people say television actors are lazy, and some of them are -but I can see how it happens. You just become so comfortable in your job. They stop learning their lines the night before, they stop investing in it, they fall back on old tricks and it becomes less of an emotional challenge. But that’s not what I wanted.”
After Rafters Sheridan hosted I Will Survive for TEN, appeared on Seven’s INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, ABC’s The Divorce, starred in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and pursued his music career with the LA-based California Crooners Club.
“I felt really ready and it felt like a good fit”
But he returns to an ongoing role in Nine’s House Husbands.
“Taking time out is good, working on television, going back to theatre, doing small mini-series or smaller shows so that you stay fresh. Most of the actors that I really look up to tend to mix it up a lot and I think they get a better result from it, because they’re constantly looking to find new characters.
“By the time I came back to this, I felt really ready and it felt like a good fit, given that I’d always liked the show.”
Sheridan, who trained at NIDA, and the Australian Ballet School, has music in his DNA. The son of musician Dennis Sheridan, he also studied music at the Victorian College of the Arts.
On Nine’s series he plays new school music teacher Nick Gazecki.
“That was one of the reasons I wanted to do the show. We had initial reading a long time ago and I thought a music teacher sounded like a good fit for me.
“I thought it would be great because I’d be able to sing …but I don’t think I’ve sung once. But they have made me play the guitar, saxophone, electric guitar. (Nick) can play every instrument –but I haven’t had to play the piano, which is the one instrument I can play!”
“I very rarely felt inspired or supported”
Yet Sheridan remembers well his high school music days were not too flash.
“In all honesty my music teacher, when I was older, was not great. I very rarely felt inspired or supported in high school, which was annoying because I was someone that actually wanted to be a musician,” he continues.
“It’s amazing the impact teachers can have, so the idea of playing a music teacher for kids was just an awesome thing to be able to do. So I consciously made Nick a passionate music teacher. He’s someone that loves helping kids learn and find love for music.”
Sheridan’s arrival on the show follows the exit of Gyton Grantley, leaving the obvious question: does Nick become one of the core House Husbands on the show? And how can he when Nick is holding down a job as a single guy?
“They seem to have multiple jobs on this show!” he laughs. “They’re always up to some new scheme or investment or something like that to try and work it out.
“My character comes into the show as a schoolteacher, so he’s different to begin with, but he’s with Rachel, Jane Allsop’s character. So that could give you a kind of indication of how –potentially- he could become one, without giving away too much.”
“I think it’s it’s just an older women thing”
Sheridan, 31, also find himself paired with an on-screen partner with an age-gap difference. But while it’s becoming a familiar theme it isn’t one he is fazed about.
“(Jane) was initially worried about it because obviously we have an age difference. But I said ‘Don’t worry, the last on-screen lover I had on TV was Lisa McCune,” he says referring to The Divorce.
“I think it’s it’s just an older women thing with me.
“Lisa kept saying ‘I’m old enough to be your mother!’ and I kept saying ‘You’re really not!’
“I think it helped because a lot of the best relationships I know are the ones that are a bit oddly-matched anyway.”
Sheridan makes his debut on House Husbands in the season premiere on Monday night and quickly locks horns with (Lewis) Gary Sweet.
“More than anything I love working with the kids. They’re so funny and I haven’t spent this much time with children for a long time,” he says.
“Kids are so unguarded by what they say, they can really make you laugh sometimes.”
House Husbands returns 9pm Monday on Nine.